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New Generation’s Abdulwahid detained in blackmail, defamation probe

New Generation’s Abdulwahid detained in blackmail, defamation probe

2019/05/16 | 22:20

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Shaswar Abdulwahid, the leader of the New Generation Movement (Newey Nwê), Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, May 2019. Photo: Abdulwahid’s FB

SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Shaswar Abdulwahid, leader of the New Generation Movement, has been detained after appearing in a Sulaimani court on Thursday afternoon. He faces charges of blackmail and defamation.

The investigative court of the General Sulaimani Asayish (security) issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday as part of an ongoing probe into the allegations within the party.

Earlier on Thursday, Abdulwahid said he would voluntarily attend court to face the charges. He was detained following the hearing.











“Concerning the arrest warrant, I am going to court myself as we have done it in the past… What we and our friends suffer is the price of our stances, not a mistake. Many have made big mistakes and committed heinous crimes, but walk freely in this county,” Abdulwahid said in a Facebook post Thursday.

“Making big changes requires sacrifices, patience and determination. At the end of the day, the one who has faith in his cause will prevail.”

“We assure everyone that we will not give up and will become stronger,” he added.

New Generation lawmaker Kawa Abdulqadir said Abdulwahid was investigated by an Asayish judge and that tight security measures were taken.

“Why an Asayish judge? Other judges could try Shaswar Abdulwahid,” Abdulqadir said in a press conference outside Sulaimani court.

“He denied all the accusations directed at him,” he added.

Ten New Generation members are already under investigation and have warrants out for their arrest. Five of these warrants are still outstanding.

The legal probe follows a schism in the party that began last month when several of its MPs in both the Erbil and Baghdad parliaments accused their leadership of betraying their founding ideals.

The MPs specifically condemned Abdulwahid for turning what was founded as a political movement into a family business, undermining its collective decision-making process, and then trying to blackmail dissenters into silence.

The criminal investigation was launched after Kurdistan parliament member Shadi Nawzad filed a lawsuit in April, alleging she was being blackmailed via text message. The sender threatened to publish a nude video of her.

Last Friday, the Asayish released video confessions from five people close to Abdulwahid. They admitted to the blackmail, slander, and defamation of New Generation politicians.

Abdulwahid claimed that the ruling parties of PUK and KDP have constantly tried to “diminish” the party and he has notified all embassies and consulates in Iraq of this “repulsive scenario” because no judge would believe the confession videos.

Shortly afterwards, Abdulwahid accused the Sulaimani security forces of conducting a politically-motivated attack against New Generation.

“They want to target and defame the New Generation and me. We have resisted in the past as much as we could,” Abdulwahid told reporters at a press conference in Sulaimani on Friday.

The court has defended the legality of the raids of New Generation’s offices and the arrests of the party members amid widespread criticism of the security forces aligned with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) that conducted them. The raids and arrests have been perceived to be part of a wider crackdown on political opposition in the Kurdistan Region.

The New Generation Movement, founded in 2018, holds four seats in Iraq’s 329-seat parliament and eight in the Kurdistan regional parliament. It offered itself as an alternative to the ruling family-led parties of KDP and PUK.

Copyright © 2019, respective author or news agency, Ekurd.net | rudaw.net

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